NCAA President Mark Emmert Remains Optimistic with Football in the Fall
It has been a frustrating and somewhat disheartening couple of weeks for fans hoping to see college football this fall, with multiple schools around the country reporting positive COVID-19 tests for members of their programs since the return of voluntary workouts.
The return of student-athletes for typical summer workouts was approved by the NCAA starting in June. However, concern from some has arising throughout the month after larger schools such as Clemson, LSU, Iowa and Boise State reported cases.
Boise State, more notably, closed its athletic facilities and entire campus on Monday for the remainder of the week due to ongoing health and safety concerns. A release from the school mentioned it had discovered eight coronavirus cases (or presumed cases).
Nevertheless, the college football landscape should remain optimistic that action will take place this fall after comments from NCAA President Mark Emmert, who told Seth Davis from The Athletic on Wednesday that we are likely to have football despite unusual circumstances and challenges.
“I certainly think that, sitting here today, there will be football in the fall,” Emmert told Davis during a podcast appearance. “It will be different in many respects regarding size of audience, nature of schedule, length of season, and certainly the protocol in the way games are played. As of today, we are likely to have football. But it’s all going to come down to whether or not it can be done in a safe fashion.”
One thing is practically certain due to the varied COVID-19 statistics across the country… we are not going to have football in the same way it’s accustomed to being seen year in and year out. Different conferences may have different start dates, some might not play out-of-conference games, and others may not have every team even playing due to huge geographic spreads.
“The situation is obviously very fluid, and everyone recognizes that,” Emmert also said. “Schools are dealing with it differently and we’ll have to see where those go forward, because the reality is the health conditions are changing highly variably. We have no choice but to be flexible and rely on each individual jurisdiction, whether that’s a county or a state, to determine what’s effective in that area. North Dakota looks very different than Arizona. There might be a competitive advantage or disadvantage based on where the virus is.”
Ohio State is scheduled to open preseason camp on Friday, August 7.